TONIGHT’S State of Origin decider is being built up as one of the most anticipated games of rugby league of all time.
And with so much on the line, rightly so.
But no matter how good tonight’s game turns out to be, it won’t be as memorable as what game two was for Hayden Murray.
The Moruya teenager was selected as one of four ball boys for the June 13 clash at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium, which was played in front of a crowd of more than 80,000.
“It was a really good experience,” Murray said.
“Running out onto the field, there was just such a good vibe. It was an awesome atmosphere.”
Murray, who turns 15 on July 19, was selected after an “outstanding” performance at a rugby league camp in Narrabeen during the Easter school holidays.
“We played a bit of league tag and then did a few skills and drills sessions,” he said.
“I was very excited when I got picked (to be a ball boy).”
It’s little wonder he was singled out.
Murray, who plays his club footy for Moruya-Tuross Sharks, is the Group 16 representative fullback for his age group.
But he has no intention of stopping there after his Origin II experience, which Murray said has “definitely” motivated him to pull on a Blues jersey one day.
The 14-year-old was lucky enough to meet one of his favourite players, Paul Gallen, after the match and even got some autographs on his NSW jersey.
“I’m a Tigers fan but (Gallen) was an awesome bloke,” he said.
Murray has been to Origin in Sydney several times before as a fan but he rated the ball boy experience as “heaps better” and said it was something he’d “do again, for sure”.
As for tonight’s blockbuster decider, Murray wasn’t bold enough to offer a score prediction but he is confident the Blues can break their 2554-day drought.
“I think New South Wales will win, but it should be close,” he said.